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Lions Down Long Island

Final Score

Long Island - 45
Penn State - 66

See the Boxscore here

Game Story

It was beginning to look like another disappointing performance against another inferior opponent. The Lions shot 30% from the field in the first half while the Blackbirds were getting a lot of second chance shots and shooting 46%. It all added up to a 29-28 deficit for the Lions at the half.

But at the beginning of the second half Brandon Hassell dunked a missed shot by Cornley. The dunk sparked the Lions on a 13-2 run that gave Penn State a 41-31 lead. Though the Lions blew double digit leads in the second half of the past two games, it wasn't going to happen last night. Penn State continued to work the ball inside to the big men where they had an advantage against Long Island. After both teams tied with 17 rebounds in the first half, the Lions outrebounded the Blackbirds in the second half by a 22-5 margin. The Lion shooting picked up to 56% in the second half and Penn State cruised on to the 66-45 victory.

Breaking It Down

Senior point guard Ben Luber missed his first game of the year with tendonitis in his ankle. He is listed as day-to-day. Mooch Jackson started in his place playing 37 minutes. He threw in 12 points, 2 assists, and no turnovers.

The Lions in general did a good job of protecting the ball with only 11 turnovers. Me thinks I smell a trend here. Low turnovers good. High turnovers bad.

This just in: Geary Claxton is still a beast. Crown him team MVP now. Claxton had his third straight double-double last night and scored over 20 points for the second straight game with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

As good as Claxton is, he needs help if the Lions are going to keep winning. Last night he got it with 12 points from Mooch and 10 points each from Morrissey and Hassell. Jamelle Cornley is struggling lately. Last night he finished with only 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 turnovers.

Next Up

The Nittany Lions will face Southeast Louisiana on Saturday in the Jordan Center. It will be the firt meeting between the two teams.

Bonus Stuff!!!

BSD User Laaaaazzz offers the following in the diary section.

Penn State has made a significant upgrade to their basketball non-conference schedule by agreeing to play in the 2007 Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving.  It will provide 3 games against mostly decent competition on a neutral court.

There's been some legitimate griping about the weakness of out non-conference schedule this season. If we manage to win enough games to be a bubble team, the terribleness of our non-conference games might keep us out of the tourney.

I agree with Laaaaazzz. This is fantastic news for the Penn State basketball program. As we continue to improve with recruits like Battle and Brooks, it's important to improve the level of the competition and exposure if they hope to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee.